Every opportunity for a gathering of family, friends, neighbors and co-workers is cherished in Hawai`i. As refrigeration is very important in a climate like that of the Hawaiian Islands, large gatherings of people have served as one way of ensuring that food was consumed in a timely manner. Unique garnishes and toppings are one way to harmonize a menu.
The following recipe for mango chutney came from Caroline Farias, a friend and the subject of Conversations with Caroline Kuliaikanu`ukapu Wilcox DeLima Farias, A Series of Seven Hawaiian Oral History Interviews conducted between 1992 and 1993. The interviews express her reflections on her family, Hawaiian culture, and life in upcountry Maui during the early twentieth century. Most were conducted in Auntie Carol’s home in Kāne`ohe, Hawai`i, on the island of O`ahu. We usually sat in a sitting room surrounded by antique koa furniture, heirloom furnishings, books, photographs, and a chiming clock.
CAROL'S MANGO CHUTNEY
As with all of the recipes I share, portions of ingredients can be adapted to your taste and supplies.
2 Cups of vinegar
[I prefer apple cider vinegar, but many people use white vinegar]
4 Cups of brown sugar
[No indication if it should be packed; use the quantity that is pleasing to your palette]
2 Sticks of cinnamon
1/2 Tablespoons of cloves, whole
1/4 Cup green ginger, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons of ground allspice
2 Tablespoons of ground nutmeg
12 Cups of green mangoes, diced
1/4 Cup Maui, or other, sweet onions
If you like a bit of heat, 1 Tablespoon of chili peppers, seeds removed, finely minced
[no variety specified]
PREPARING THE SYRUP
Boil vinegar and sugar. Tie cloves and cinnamon in cheesecloth and boil in the syrup for 10 minutes. Remove these spices, then add garlic and ginger to the syrup. Boil for another 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook at a low temperature for at least ½ hour, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture fro, sticking to the pan.
STORING YOUR CHUTNEY
If you wish to store unrefrigerated for a long period of time, pour the mixture into hot sterilized canning jars and seal per manufacturer’s directions. As few of us can these days, you can cool the chutney and store in appropriate containers in the refrigerator until use. But as this is a large quantity, you might consider sharing it with friends, after serving it to garnish meat, curry, or as a topping for cream cheese topped crackers. This also makes a nice gift for your hosts at a neighborhood pā`ina!
Carol always prepared enough food to accommodate unexpected guests and never cared whether those guests arrived empty handed. But when they left, it was never empty handed. Food from the crowded buffet table, fruit, vegetables and flowers from her garden were all shared with love and an invitation to return soon. As I had difficulty in keeping orchids alive, let alone blooming, orchids I received as gifts would reside in the screened orchid house on the side of her home for much of their lives. Periodically I would get a call saying, “Jeanne, your orchid plant is now waiting for you with beautiful blooms.” I will soon be uploading a sample of our dialogue on another page of this website…
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